Firewall is a micro dice game that plays fast and is a ton of fun. It’s currently on Kickstarter so if it’s something that peaks your interest make sure you back it now.
“The reason I created this game was so that I would have a game I could play with my friends and family who are non-gamers,” Jonathan King the co-designer of Firewall said. “I wanted to create an intersection between the games that gamers love and the games non-gamers enjoy. I think Firewall achieves that. Gamers will call it filler, because it’s a great game to play when you just finished a long game an need something lighter before the next one. It’s also a great warm-up or close out to a game night. More importantly though it’s the type of game that can be used to create game nights in families that didn’t have one before or lure your friends into your world of plastic and cardboard. I’m pretty happy about that.”
Packed into the Firewall box is very little. You have the solid square game board and then ten custom dice in four separate colors! That’s a total of forty dice which is a heck of a lot. To compound that, there are two versions of the game. One is RGB (red green blue & white) which you can see in the photos I’ve taken, but there is also a CMYK (cyan magenta yellow & black) version which looks absolutely gorgeous.
“Firewall was always a dice game,” King said. “In fact, in the first version we had we just used our phones, among other things, in place of the board to represent the server. My other favorite thing we used to represent the main frame were netrunner cards. The board image has seen a number of iterations, but I really like the neon-tech look it has now.”
In Firewall, you play as competing hackers trying to control ports. On your turn, you roll three dice. You then choose one to place on the board.
The six sides of the dice are as follows:
- 1, 2, & 3 – The numerical sides of the dice represent programs.Their value is important because the player with the most programs on a port will control it.
- Backdoor – Backdoors are used open firewalls that players use to close a port.
- Spike – A spike is used to remove any one dice from the board.
- Firewall – A single firewall prevents other players from playing their dice on a port and two firewalls close a port.
“The theme kind of picked itself,” King said. “The idea of Firewall came from the thought of using dice as components and playing them off each other. Then we thought about ways to manipulate other player’s dice columns. Firewalls were born! With something to block off your opponents the game seemed much more interesting. From there the hacker theme became pervasive and backdoors and spikes seemed like the next natural step.”
To help cut down on the randomness of the game, you can always save one of the dice you rolled in your RAM. This means as long as you play smart you’ll always be able to make a move on your turn.
When you start a game, you roll the dice to decide how many ports you will be using when playing. I thought it was a very odd set-up mechanic, However, now that I’ve played the game a bunch of times, I get it. Varying the ports in every game makes a drastic change. It affects how you play and it affects strategies you use during the game. So having it random every time helps the game feel fresh and different.
The biggest thing to emphasize about Firewall is that although it might look and sound like a push your luck game, it really isn’t. It’s a dice placing game where you are trying to outsmart you opponent. The dice are nice because they are random but there is never really an optimal perfect roll or strategy. You will have to constantly watch your opponent and adapt to how they are playing.
Firewall’s components look amazing, but you need to remind yourself that it’s just a prototype and the game being published isn’t set in stone. The only way you can make sure the game is released is by backing it now on Kickstarter!
“I’ve always been fascinated by kickstarter” King said. “I’ve been following it for years, I even backed the very first game from Crash Games. I’ve seen a lot of great games get funded. So I wanted to have my own game up there someday, just to see if I could do it! That’s not a great reason, to do anything though. The biggest reason is that I wanted to create a brand that made games that I liked and a game I believed in. Firewall is not a one-shot. I have 4 other projects I want to work on very soon (within the next year) and a bunch more scribblings that I want to get to someday. I also didn’t want to let go of creative control. It would kill me if the theme got changed to a fantasy hack’n’slash tournament. There’s too many games like that already.”
So what are you waiting for? Firewall plays in minutes and is a ton of fun. If you like dice games and custom dice then it’s a no-brainer. Go back it now!